Carol V. Davis

Carol Davis

Carol V. Davis, Poet and Adjunct Faculty in the Los Angeles Undergraduate program’s Creative Writing concentration, has published her fourth poetry collection, Below Zero (Stephen F. Austin University Press).  

In Below Zero, Davis explores Siberia, an area in Russia largely unknown to Americans. Flying into Ulan-Ude, capital of Buryatia Republic, where she had never been, she mutters a prayer that her plane will be met. On a trip to Lake Baikal, she and her colleagues drive past trees strung with Tibetan prayer flags and stop to drop rubles in the lap of a Buddha. 

In Irkutsk, when her host dips a finger in a glass of beer and taps it on the tabletop, “For the house spirits,” she thinks of her own Passover, “finger dipping in the wine.” Intermingling faith practices, shamanistic rituals jostle with Russian Orthodox blessings. 

Amid a harsh life in winter “below zero,” the poet finds wonder and majesty in the vast landscape and the warmth of people who welcome her. These poems wander over borders, America to Russia, Los Angeles to Nebraska, from cities to tall grass prairie to forest. Faith and doubt, magic and superstition, place, cultures, and family history weave through this journey, inviting us to ask ourselves: Where do we belong and why?

Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center is hosting a book launch for Below Zero Saturday, March 25, 2023.

Davis is the author of Because I Cannot Leave This Body (Truman State Univ. Press, 2017) and Between Storms (TSUP, 2012). She won the 2007 T.S. Eliot Prize for Into the Arms of Pushkin: Poems of St. Petersburg. Her first book, It’s Time to Talk About…, was published in a bilingual English/Russian edition, (Symposium, St. Petersburg, Russia, 1997). Her poetry has been read on National Public Radio, the US Library of Congress and Radio Russia. Formerly Poetry Editor of the Los Angeles newspaper, the Jewish Journal, in 2018 she guest edited a double issue of Shirim on the theme of Contemporary Jewish American Poets. She was the 2008 Sandburg-Auden-Stein Poet-in-Residence at Olivet College, MI. Read more about Davis winning a third Fulbright Award in the Common Thread profile of her here.